Western Psych worker killed in shooting spree was recently engaged
Family and friends of a man killed by a gunman at a University of Pittsburgh psychiatric clinic are struggling to come to terms with the devastating, unexpected loss.
Michael Schaab, 25, of Regent Square, who recently became engaged, worked as a group therapist at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. He died when an unidentified gunman began firing in the hospital’s lobby around 1:40 p.m. on Thursday. Seven others were injured before the unidentified gunman was apparently shot dead by campus police.
“We’re just still trying to figure out why. … We haven’t heard what happened,” said Schaab’s aunt, Lynn Daum, 53, of Monroeville. In times of tragedy, Schaab would be the one to offer comfort, Daum said. “He would make everything all right. He would fix everything… Mikey made you feel like you’re the most important person in the world.”
Schaab, who graduated with a psychology degree from the University of Pittsburgh, worked as a group therapist in the clinic’s geriatric unit, according to hospital president Claudia Roth. Schaab’s mother, Mary Schaab, of Salem, told The Associated Press she has no reason to believe her son knew the shooter.
Shaab proposed to his girlfriend, Megan Shively, on Valentine’s Day, and was attending graduate school for occupational therapy. He would have turned 26 next week.
Shively and Schaab met at Western Psychiatric when they both worked there, and began dating four or five years ago, said Dan Querio, 26, a friend of Schaab’s since their sophomore year at Greensburg Central Catholic High School. When Schaab finally proposed, the news delighted his friends.
“I was so proud of them,” Querio said.
Querio had planned to get together with Schaab last night. Instead, around midnight, Querio’s South Side home became a gathering place for those in Schaab’s close circle of friends who still live in the area. “We didn’t know what to do.”
Schaab was the center of that group, Querio said.
“Mike was the glue that brought us all together. He was friends with all of us individually,” Querio said. “He was probably the most outgoing, playful, good person I know. He was never serious. He always had a smile on his face.”
That carried over to his work life, Roth said.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague and friend, Michael Schaab, yesterday. It was clear that Michael was truly a leader among our staff, and he was beloved by the geriatric patients whom he cared for every day. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this time. This senseless act of violence has had a profound impact on all of us who knew and admired him. He will be greatly missed,” Schaab said.
Schaab worked at the hospital since graduating in 2008.
Mary and Harold Schaab’s only other child, Nancy, was shot to death on Oct. 23, 2010, by her boyfriend in their Plum home. Jordan Just pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in June 2011, and was sentenced to six to 15 years in state prison.
“That was devastating then. They were very close,” Querio said.
Mary Schaab says the family watched Thursday’s news coverage of the shootings for hours without realizing her son had been killed. They assumed he was safe because he worked on an upper floor, not near the first-floor lobby where the unidentified gunman shot seven people. Another was injured, but not by gunfire.
Schaab says a state trooper arrived to tell her that her son was killed late Thursday night.
“I don’t think our family will ever completely recover,” Daum said.
Jeffrey A. Romoff, UPMC president and CEO, told employees today in a statement that, “We are all deeply saddened by the tragic events yesterday and in particular the loss of one of our dedicated staff members and the injuries to others. Our thoughts and prayers go to them and their families, and we look forward to their speedy recovery.”
UPMC also released the conditions of the five people who remain hospitalized with gunshot wounds at UPMC Presbyterian this morning:
— A 64-year-old woman and a 49-year-old man are in serious condition.
— A 46-year-old man and a 35-year-old man are in fair condition.
— A 54-year-old woman is in good condition.
A union representing about 200 employees at Western Psych said this morning that two of its members were wounded in the shooting.
The Service Employees International Union did not identify the victims. It represents registered nurses, clerks, housekeepers and other employees at the hospital, which has about 2,000 employees.
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